McCarthyism as Modern Witch Hunts
McCarthyism: The Real "Witch Hunts"
Some people nowadays may consider the government, or some of its agencies, corrupt. Today's scenario is nothing compared to that of McCarthyism in the 1950s. During McCarthyism, the nation was being torn apart. Their loyalty to one another was crushed and common human decency went down the drain (Miller, Crucible xiv). These Communist hunts were eerily similar to the witch hunts and trials of Salem Massachusetts in the 1600s. The Puritans have a strict religion with very strong roots. The whole community was torn apart by this "witch scare" from the children to the elderly to the most devote citizens. As a result of both, lives were shattered, names blemished, and families were blown apart (Corrigan 118). Arthur Miller vividly describes the community of Salem as it turns on itself out of paranoia and false testimonies. The Crucible compellingly similar to McCarthyism in 1950s America in which neighbor turns upon neighbor accusing each of being a "Red."
Senator Joseph McCarthy is one of the most famous anti-Communist activists. He was a Republican from Wisconsin. In the early 1950s, McCarthy began charging that Communists were taking over the government. He hit two other major areas beside that of the U.S. government. Those were Hollywood and the U.S. Army. McCarthy made one unsupported accusation after another (Miller, Crucible xxiv). These attacks on suspected Communists became known by the term of McCarthyism. Since the 1950s, McCarthyism has been referred to as the unfair tactic of accusing people of disloyalty without providing evidence. McCarthy charged various groups and departments from the Democratic Party to the State Department. He once accused the Democratic Party as being guilty of "20 years of treason" for allowing Communist infiltration into the government (Ferres 30). The Army was accused of coddling Communists and selling top-secret information. As many as 20 million Americans watched the combative senator bully his witnesses who had no chance of defending themselves.
McCarthy ruined lives with the power of paranoia and blacklisting. A blacklist was a list of people who were condemned for having a Communist background. If one was on a blacklist, it was almost impossible to get a job because employers feared accusation of being a "Red" by association. A "Red" was a short term used for Communist. A fair amount of the blacklisting came from the Hollywood industry as a result of the House of Un-American Activities Committee. The HUAC developed from a congressional committee created to search out disloyalty before World War II. The power of the HUAC grew in the late 1940s and during the 1950s because of the Cold War and the "Red Scare." The "Red Scare" was the hysteria and fear of the American government and public during the Cold War that the Communist may infiltrate and take over the United States (Martine,...